Exploring the history and wonders of D.C.

LYSA ALLMAN-BALDWIN | 6/12/2013, 6:21 p.m.


Like I said before, there is so much to see and do in D.C., you could literally spend about two weeks taking in just a little bit each day and still not cover it all. So the next time around, we would definitely like to explore many of these fantastic historic sites and attractions:

To learn more about the history of the creative contributions of women worldwide, past and present, visit the National Museum of Women in the Arts. In addition to a collection of over 4,500 objects, the museum also presents a number of world-class exhibitions annually.

Another of D.C.'s most popular attractions is the Library of Congress, located in three buildings on Capitol Hill. Founded in 1800 and, today, the oldest federal cultural institution in the country, it is home to more than 66 million manuscripts; 34 million-plus cataloged books and other print materials in 470 languages (on an estimated 838 miles of bookshelves!), the world's largest collection of sheet music (6.5 million pieces). sound recordings (3.3 million), maps (5.4 million) and legal materials and films, and the largest rare-book collection in North America.

More than just explaining the atrocities of the Holocaust, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum presents a wide range of exhibits, programming and events that, according to the museum, inspire "citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity." (Note: According to friends, some aspects may be too intense for young children.)

Originally founded in 1861, Ford's Theatre has always been a D.C. mainstay for musical and theatrical productions, in addition to being the infamous site where President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth in 1865. Although closed for over 100 years after that event, it officially reopened in the late 1960s as a theater and national historic site.

"Huge" doesn't begin to describe the National Museum of Natural History, encompassing an estimated 18 football fields' worth of exhibition and public space that shares the history of the natural sciences, animal and marine life and a great deal more.

To get a look at some of this country's most influential and historic documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, stop by the National Archives. The building is also home to the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery, William G. McGowan Theater and interactive exhibits inside the Public Vaults.

News junkies will be in their element at the Newseum, featuring 15 major galleries and 15 theaters brimming with the world's greatest news stories. Among them are the 9/11 Gallery, Watergate Door, Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery, Journalists Memorial, Berlin Wall Gallery and the Unabomber's Cabin, just to name a few.

And last but not least--the opportunity to pay tribute to some of our country's most illustrious personalities at Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery is not only the final resting place for thousands who valiantly served our country in the armed forces, but also for the many other heroes and heroines in the fields of medicine, politics, sports, exploration and space and other fields.

Next up, the city's great monuments and memorials.

Resource List

  • Arlington National Cemetery, 877-907-8585, www.arlingtoncemetery.mil
  • Ford's Theatre, 202-638-2941, www.fordstheatre.org
  • The Crime Museum, 202-621-5550, www.crimemuseum.org
  • The International Spy Museum, 202-EYE-SPYU, www.spymuseum.org
  • Library of Congress, 202-707-5000, www.loc.gov/index.html
  • National Air and Space Museum, 202-633-1000, http://airandspace.si.edu
  • National Archives, 202-357-5000, www.archives.gov/dc-metro/washington
  • National Museum of Natural History, 202-633-1000, www.mnh.si.edu
  • National Museum of Women in the Arts, 202-783-5000, http://nmwa.org
  • Newseum, 888-639-7386, www.newseum.org
  • The Smithsonian Institution, 202-633-1000, www.si.edu
  • Union Station, 202-289-1908, www.unionstationdc.com
  • U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 202-488-0400, www.ushmm.org
  • Washington, D.C., Convention and Visitors Bureau, 202-789-7000, www.washington.org